Need ideas for things to do on Christmas Day in Toronto? Here’s what you can do in the city when most shops, restaurants and attractions are closed for the holidays.
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Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Take a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada this Christmas Day in Toronto. Open for business as usual, the aquarium is home to more than 15,000 marine animals including stingrays, jellyfish, tropical fish, and seahorses. They also showcase sharks, barracudas, eels and sea turtles which are best seen from a moving walkway inside an impressive 97-metre tunnel.
Christmas Day Hours: 9 am – 11 pm
288 Bremner Blvd.
Whether you are looking for a memorable thing to do in Toronto, or are struggling to entertain relatives from out of town this Christmas Day, taking a trip up the CN Tower could be just what you’re looking for. Open on December 25th from 9 am 8 pm, high-speed elevators take visitors up to one of the three observation platforms to look down at the city below. The observation platforms feature floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, two glass floors, and various interpretive exhibits.
Christmas Day Hours: 9 am – 8 pm
301 Front St. West
Pro Tip: If you are visiting both Ripley’s Aquarium and the CN Tower, consider purchasing a Toronto CityPASS. For a flat rate, this pass gives you access to not only Ripley’s and the CN Tower but also Casa Loma, the Royal Ontario Museum and either the Toronto Zoo or the Ontario Science Centre. Read about one family’s visit to Toronto with a CityPASS here.
Allan Gardens Conservatory Christmas Flower Show
If you’re looking for something free to do this Christmas Day in Toronto, head to the Christmas Flower Show at the Allan Gardens Conservatory. This annual event showcases more than 30 varieties of the poinsettia, as well as seasonal topiaries created entirely of plant material.
Christmas Day Hours: 10 am – 5 pm
19 Horticultural Avenue, Toronto
Centennial Park Conservatory
Toronto’s other famous conservatory, Centennial Park Conservatory is located in the city’s west end. Visit on Christmas Day for a quiet stroll through the three greenhouses and, while you’re there, say hello to the fish, turtles and birds.
Christmas Day Hours: 10 am – 5 pm
151 Elmcrest Rd, Etobicoke
Riverdale Farm is a fantastic place for families to visit on Christmas Day. Located in Toronto’s Cabbagetown, this 7.4-acre working farm has barn animals to pet and over 3km of walking trails to explore. Admission to Riverdale Farm is free.
Christmas Day Hours: 10 am – 5 pm
201 Winchester St., Toronto
High Park Zoo
High Park Zoo is another great free attraction open on Christmas Day in Toronto. Perfect for the whole family, the zoo is home to bison, llamas, peacocks, reindeer, capybaras, highland cattle, wallabies, emus and several types of sheep.
Christmas Day Hours: 7 am – dusk
1873 Bloor St W., Toronto
If you can’t wait until Boxing Day to spend all that Christmas money, check out the Pacific Mall. It is North America’s largest indoor Chinese shopping mall with more than 270,000 square feet of electronics, cell phone accessories, clothing, and restaurants. Word to the wise, the Pacific Mall is notorious for selling counterfeit goods, so keep that in mind before making any purchases.
Christmas Day Hours: 11 am – 8 pm
4300 Steeles Ave E., Markham
Hot Docs Cinema
Head over to Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto this Christmas Day to watch the best commercials of 2019. Chosen by the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity, these commercials are more than just advertisements. They demonstrate incredible artistic ability and are also inventive and entertaining. If commercials aren’t your thing, you can learn more about the other films playing at Hot Docs Cinema on December 25th here.
Christmas Day Showtime: 2:45 pm
506 Bloor St W, Toronto
TIFF Bell Lightbox
TIFF Bell Lightbox, along with most other movie theatres in Toronto, are open for business as usual on Christmas Day. Their December 25th lineup includes Lawrence of Arabia at 1 pm, 2001: A Space Odyssey at 6 pm and After Hours at 9:30 pm.
350 King St W., Toronto
Strap on your skates this Christmas Day and head to one of Toronto’s great outdoor skating rinks. Nathan Phillips Square, Harbourfront Centre, and the Bentway Skate Trail are all great options as skating is free and skate rentals are available.
100 Queen St W., Toronto
In Toronto, it’s pretty much guaranteed there will be a white Christmas. Instead of staying cooped up indoors, channel your inner child by going sledding down one of the city’s best hills. As a kid, I loved sledding at Eglinton Park in North Toronto and Lithuania Park in the High Park area.
If you’re looking to spend some one on one time with nature on Christmas Day, I suggest taking a walk in one of Toronto’s beautiful green spaces. Personal favourites include the Alexander Muir Gardens, High Park and Rouge National Park.
Christmas Light Displays
One of my all-time favourite things to do on Christmas Day when I lived in Toronto was checking out the local Christmas light displays. The best places to see the twinkling lights are; Nathan Phillips Square, which has an impressive 60-foot Christmas tree adorned with 700 ornaments and 3,810 metres of LED lights; the Financial District, with its innovative displays and massive ornamental wreaths; Bloor-Yorkville, where there are several blocks of animated storefront windows as well as dazzling light displays; and, on the boardwalk at the foot of Leuty Avenue in the Eastern Beaches, where over 80,000 individual LED bulbs on 20,000 linear feet of wire sparkle on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Eat Chinese Food
In Toronto, the next best thing to turkey, potatoes and stuffing this Christmas Day is Chinese food. Open for business as usual, the city’s East-Asian restaurants will be happy to serve you delicious egg rolls, dim sum and other non-traditional Christmas dishes.
Go Out for Dinner
Aside from Chinese food, there are plenty of options for dining out in Toronto on Christmas Day. Spots like the Tundra Restaurant & Bar in the Financial District and Signatures Restaurant in Yorkville are already taking reservations for December 25th, as are the hotel restaurants such as the Drake and the Fairmont Royal York.
Do a good deed this Christmas Day and volunteer in the community. There are opportunities available through volunteer Toronto which include serving Christmas dinner at a homeless shelter, delivering supplies to an animal shelter, and welcoming an elderly neighbour to your family celebration, or, if you prefer to do something on your own, you can always distribute meals and care packages to the homeless yourself.
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